throwing my backpack on the floor and racing into the kitchen to bake meringue with my mother. the kitchen smelled of sugar and perfume, and i’d hold our old retro mixer still while the egg whites and sugar frothed up to stiff, glossy peaks before my eyes.
my mother would always bake the meringue in a pie dish, forming a sweet crunchy shell for my favorite lemon meringue pie (or, lemon on a cloud pie as we always called it).
i was never allowed to open the oven door to peek while the meringue baked, and when it finally came out of the oven, all crackly and light, i would sneak broken edges and let them dissolve into sweetness on my tongue.
Never made meringue before? Well this is a great time to start. All you need are three ingredients (egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar) and either a really strong arm or…a KitchenAid.
I love making meringue kisses like this because they’re so easy and light. Plus, you can store them in tupperware in the freezer for months. Two of these, plus a broken piece of extra dark chocolate, is my go-to daily dessert.
Making meringue is simple, but takes some patience. I always work with room temperature egg whites (they get the most air) so about an hour before you want to bake, separate your eggs and set your whites out on the counter. Then, beat them on high with a fourth of a teaspoon of cream of tartar until “you can’t see the bottom of the bowl anymore”, and then gradually add your sugar.
You might feel like you’re beating forever, but you’re not. You want to continue until you see very stiff, glossy peaks. In a KitchenAid, beating on high speed, this will take about seven to eight minutes.
Then, to make the kisses, just transfer the meringue into either a pastry bag with a tip or a plastic bag with a tip. Pipe out small blobs onto a lined baking sheet, like this:
Bake at 200 degrees for one hour and ten minutes, until totally dry and light. And…once you’ve closed the oven door, keep it shut! These kisses are super fragile and even the slightest bang will cause them to break while baking.
makes about 2 dozen
3 egg whites (room temperature)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together until you can’t see the bottom of the bowl (it will get all frothy). Gradually add the sugar while the mixer is going on high and continue to beat for another seven minutes or so, until stiff glossy peaks appear. Test this by removing the whisk attachment from your bowl and standing it upright (see above photo). If the meringue doesn’t slump, it’s ready.
Pipe out kisses onto parchment paper or a silpat. Bake at 200 degrees for one hour and ten minutes, until light and dry.
heading to bed with three broken pieces of meringue and a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips in my fist. when i got to my room, the chocolate had melted in my hands and i ate the meringue bits quickly, so as no crumbs would get in my bed.